Rental car insurance

I’ve always understood that my auto policy adequately covered any coverages that the rental companies tried to sell me.

Well yesterday I took the coverage somehow… hard sell which included “California is different now” plus the fact that there were 50 people waiting in line not looking happy.

Any insights out there??

Once I get the straight story I expect to go to a local office Monday and try to cancel it for the rest of the period… any thoughts there also ???

You need to verify coverage with your current policy. There is a good chance that only liability coverage will follow you to others’ cars, especially if you only have liability coverage on your policy.

You may also find your credit card provides for some form of comprehensive coverage on rental cars, assuming you use that card for the rental.

There is no straight story other than to verify with the respective issuers, the situation will vary.

My insurance agent recommended I take the insurance waiver, as, while my policy covered the cost of the car or repairs thereto, it did NOT cover the cost of lost business (to the rental company) while the car was being repaired. These costs could be significant.

The rental insurance also covers any deductible you might have. You don’t have to coordinate with your insurance company. You just call in the damage to the rental company when it happens. If it’s minor damage, it will get taken care of when you turn the car back in.

I agree.

I recently rented a car with my Mastercard, and declined the extra coverage, assuming I was all set.

Then, after an accident with the car, I learnd that only the fancier levels of Mastercard cover auto rentals. I believe all levels of American Express have coverage, but I’m not sure.

In summary: Contact your auto insurer, as well as your credit card company, to see what coverage you have.

In a slight hijack but has anyone ever actually READ an entire car rental agreement?

I haven’t and I’d like to know basically what’s in it.

Didn’t Homer Simpson say something like, “I won’t sign anything unless I read it or someone gives me the jist of it.” Or maybe it was “I won’t sign anything unless they have those small sticky tabs shaped like arrows telling me where to sign”


Sorry for another hijack, but why do credit card companies provide insurance? What’s in it for them? Just getting more people to use their cards when they rent? Do they actually pay money out of pocket or do they use an insurance carrier to cover drivers using their card?

It’s one of many benefits that card companies use to compete for your business. Plus, since they get a piece of every transaction, they will get a piece of your rental fee if you use their card.

With your insurance if the car is undrivable after the accident you have to go through your insurance to get a different car, and you pay the deductible.

With the rental insurance if you are in an accident you call the rental company. They povide a new car, most will deliever it to you at your location. But the rental insurance is expensive for what you get.

My favorite car rental insurance pitch. “We will not deal with your insurance company or anyone else, only you”

Last I heard they can’t refuse to deal with your attorney.

This is called loss of use. A friend was in an accident with a rental car and it was his fault. His insurance company paid for all the repairs. A month later he received a bill for about 2000 for loss of use. He was being dinged for $95 a day while the car was being repaired. It was in the fine print of the rental agreement.

I recently had to rent a car for a couple days, I declined the regular insurance but bought a loss of use policy. Cost me $13, I considered it worth every penny just in case something happened.

Hmmm… I scraped a pilar in an undergropund garage backing out of the parking stall in a rental car. $1500 damage, approximately. My Visa covered it all (“provided the car was rented with this card”); I don’t recall seeing any “loss of use” but I imagine that was covered. I actually had to pay the bill (on Visa) and then got a reimbursement cheque in the mail when it was all settled.

I know when I rented a car in Italy, all the guidebook advice said get the local agency’s insurance. With Italian law and the “loss of use” claim, you would otherwise be on the hook for a huge pile of money and then have fun with the legal issues sorting it out from North America.

I wonder - the car I damaged was still quite drvable - dent on the side and light scrape for an inch of the headlight housing. I doubt they could claim it was “out of action” for the full time until the bodyshop got to it. Could they claim loss of use if it was still technically useable?

Absolutely. Whether or not it can be driven, it still needs to be taken out of service for repair. And a lot of people would not want to rent a vehicle that is obviously damaged.

Are you me?

I backed into a pillar in an underground garage last December while driving an Avis car.

Relevant points:
[li]I used a Gold Card when paying for the car. I had called the number on the back of the card to verify that I could decline the extra insurance.[/li][li]I had rented the car as part of a Expedia travel package, air+hotel+car.[/li][li]Avis had me file a claim; this took about ten minutes when I returned the car.[/li][li]I filed my CC claim online the same day. They gave me clear instructions of what to do.[/li][li]CC company told me that I would still need to file with my own auto insurance, but they would cover the full deductible (and they would pay this amount even if I never filed with Allstate). In other words, for me, this CC insurance was worth exactly $500. If you don’t have auto insurance, they need proof you don’t.[/li][li]There was a list of a dozen things I needed to provide the CC company: pictures, estimates, copies of the CC bill showing that the CC was used for the charge, and proof of my own insurance deductible.[/li][li]Avis sent me a thick packet after a month, detailing the repair, including photos and estimates and everything else. They included their “loss of use” fee. Total was $540.[/li][li]Avis gave several options for handling the bill. I could have had the CC company pay Avis directly, for example. I chose to pay off Avis and wait for the CC company to reimburse—it made me feel better not to have Avis breathing down my neck.[/li][li]The CC company paid it all, even the extra $40. :)[/ul][/li]
In other words, contrary to my fears, this insurance waiver business performed exactly as promised!

And yet the actual cost of that risk to the car rental company was probably under $3.

That’s the part that get me. I would gladly pay the rental car agency for actual insurance. Instead we are charged the cost of actual insurance - plus an exorbitant markup.

The problem is that you are one among a mess of consumers who for various reasons have shown themselves willing to pay five times as much as the insurance costs.

It would be nice to be able to say to the rental company “How 'bout you only charge me twice what this costs you? That way you make some decent money and I don’t get hosed.” Their response would probably be along the lines of “Well, a 100% markup would normally be quite attractive. But that would jeopardize our chances of making sickening amount of money off the large masses of stupid saps that walk through here every day. So thanks, but no.”

But we pay huge markup on most things. Or we pay for things like cell phones, 'cause evidently you have to call your girlfriend, five times while you’re on the Milwaukee bus to inform her what landmarks you passed, so she can be waiting at the bus stop EXACTLY when the bus arrives :slight_smile:

Had to drop in here to tell the funny story of the one and only time I got the extra insurance is the one and only time I crashed a rental car. Flew to San Francisco and rented a car to drive around Northern California and Oregon. I crashed into a rock barrier at Lake Shasta doing a good $1500 in damage to the car and got a new (even upgraded) car within hours of destroying the old one - no questions asked. Despite that positive experience, I have never gotten the insurance, or crashed a rental car again…

My Visa card handled the entire insurance claim; no cascade to my auto insurance. The biggest pain was the half-hour of waiting for the rental guy to assess the dmage and submit the report- took over half an hour. Then - as I said - they charged teh $1500 to my VISA and I got a cheque for the full amount when Visa settled it.

However, the government-monopoly car insurance in my province does not have any decent option for car rentals worth the money. A friend in Ontario said he got coverage as an add-on ot his car insurance for IIRC $50 for the year. My employer got coverage for all Canadian employees whenever ton business trips… Through Chubb - I guess that meant we’re safe…